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The fifth South Asian Cities Summit will take place on March 5 and March 6, 9 a.m. at Cidade de Goa with an aim to enable linkages between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and city development to build a better urban future. Prior to that, the second women leadership workshop on, ‘Mainstreaming Gender Perspective in Local Governance’ will take place on March 4, 9 a.m. at Cidade de Goa. NT BUZZ gets you the details

Building better cities

With an objective of building a better urban future for the coming generations, All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) in partnership with illustrious knowledge and institutional partners strives to build a platform where city mayors along with senior officials from municipal corporations from South Asian cities can share their knowledge and experiences with each other, and contribute their bit in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This edition of the fifth South Asian Cities Summit is the first one to be held in Goa and will take place on March 5 and March 6, 9 a.m. at Cidade de Goa while the previous four have been held at the national capital in Delhi. The theme for this year’s seminar is ’10 years to SDG’.

Chief Minsiter Pramod Sawant will be the chief guest; mayor of Panaji city, Uday Madkaikar will be the guest of honour while head of cooperation, European Union, Jerome Pons along with other dignitaries will also be attending the summit.

The summit is supported by the Government of Goa and United Cities and Local Government, an international organisation where cities from all over the world are members. “International sustainable development goals were suppose to be achieved by 2030. Now we have only 10 years left to achieve those goals, and what city  governments can do to achieve those goals is the idea, and we’ll be discussing these on these two days during the summit,” said director general, AIILSG, Rajiv Agarwal.

He further stated that the summit will witness the presence of over 500 delegates from various city governments like municipalities and city governance, of which 50 delegates are from Goa, 230 delegates from cities across India, 75 mayors, 100 delegates from South Asian and south East Asian countries, and over 65 speakers.

International organisations such as European Union, World Bank, UCLG, International Council for Local and Environmental Initiative and Metropolis along with various embassies have also confirmed their participation, he said. “On these two days we will be discussing issues which are very important for the citizens of this country and the roles that can be played to attain the SDGs which have been laid down by the UN,” said Agarwal.

Secretary general, United Cities and Local Governments-Asia Pacific, Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi stated that there are 17 goals, 169 targets and 200+ indicators, and out of these indicators and targets almost 65 per cent of these targets must be completed at the local level. “If local governments are given mandates and authority, it’s easier to achieve these goals. Several goals are off target especially those related to the environment; also we need to have a plan of what we need to do in the next 10 years specifically,” said Tjandradewi, adding that the United Nations (UN) has put down three decades of action namely, eradicating poverty, gender equality and environment.

Due to the outbreak of corona virus, counties like China, Korea and Singapore have withdrawn participation. “We don’t want this to just be a gathering despite the epidemic, I hope people are strong enough and have the courage to come. This gathering must produce actions. We don’t want people to just come up with solutions but come out with actions which are doable,” said Tjandradewi. The summit will also promote training facilities with an aim to provide a strong voice at the global and South Asian level, she added.

Further elaborating about the summit, deputy director general of AIILSG, Ravi Ranjan Guru said: “The whole idea is to share and exchange information.”

The Women Leadership Workshop on March 4 aims to come up with transformation highlighting women representation in local governance and local governments. The foremost focus will be to bring strategies and methodologies to address common barriers which halt female participation in the decision making process.

“We will be exclusively interacting with women leaders and fortunately the UCLG general secretary is a woman. We are inviting the chairman of National Women’s Commission, Goa Women’s Commission and other prominent women,” said Agarwal.

Tjandradewi stated that a number of women in local governments is less compared to women in parliament. “If you see the number of women in parliament, one out of four is a woman. But when you look at the number of women in local parliaments the numbers aren’t good, so one of the objectives is to raise the role of women leaders and how to make them stronger,” she said. Comparing the number of women in Nepal’s local governance she said: “We know that India has a very strong women leadership but how can we increase the number of women in constitution?”

The other point of discussion will include the importance of ‘Women Inclusivity’ in the achievement of

sustainable development.

Prominent women such as former assistant secretary general UN and former deputy ED of UN Women, Laxmi Puri; president, BJP Mahila Morcha, Sulakashana Sawant; director of Women and child Department, Panaji, Deepali Naik and more will be attending the women leadership workshop.

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